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Alberta border village under siege by ‘domestic terrorists’, investigation conducted

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The mayor of a small border village in southern Alberta said Wednesday that he and his residents were surrounded by “domestic terrorists” during lengthy protests against COVID-19 restrictions that strangled access to the U.S. border earlier this year. He said it was done.

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Coutts Mayor Jim Willett’s comments were made in response to an investigation into the federal government’s use of the Emergency Act to quell such protests, and that then-Prime Minister Jason Kenny had fully resolved the situation. I also heard him believe that he didn’t characterize it as such and didn’t take it seriously.

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“If you have the chance, can we find out why the prime minister ignores states being held hostage by domestic terrorists? And why didn’t he classify it as such? Willett said in a Feb. 12 text to Transport Minister Rajan Soni, with whom he was in regular contact during the two-week border closure in January and February.

Jim Willett Text Conversation
A text message conversation between Coutts Mayor Jim Willett and then-Alberta Transport Minister Rajan Thorney served as evidence before the Commission on the Federal Government’s Use of the Emergency Act. Photo by supply

Willett’s text messages with Thorney were registered in evidence at the Public Order Emergency Commission. This is testing the federal government’s February decision to invoke emergency legislation to end demonstrations similar to those in Coutts nationwide. almost a month.

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In text messages discussed in an investigation Wednesday between Willett and Alberta journalists, the mayor further expressed his desire to have the protesters branded as domestic terrorists.

Protesters ‘harm the country’

“These people seem to fit the bill when I look for the definition of a domestic terrorist, but no one has ever labeled them that way.” (Canadian Press journalist Bill Graveland), on the other side, came up with Minister Thorny the idea that they should be called that to get a little more attention…because they were harming the country. .

The blockade closed the village of Coutts, population 224, from January 29 to February 14 and cut commercial access at the Coutts and Sweetgrass border crossings, Alberta’s busiest trade route. Limited.

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During the demonstration, Kenny and the state government condemned the protests but said enforcement responsibility would fall to the RCMP. Some demonstrators initially hailed the move as a victory, some walked away, but many remained entrenched for another week and a half.

Protesters began to disperse on February 14, when police executed a search warrant, resulting in the arrest of 14 people, a large number of guns, bulletproof vests, large amounts of ammunition, and a large amount of storage in three trailers. Ammunition was seized. On the same day, the federal government also invoked a state of emergency law.

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Four men, Christopher Lysac, Chris Carbert, Anthony Olienik, and Jerry Morin, have been charged with conspiring to murder the Mounties in connection with the blockade of Coutts, some of whom are white. At the time, police said the threat was “very serious” and that the group would be willing to use force if the blockade was broken.

A photo provided by the RCMP on Monday, February 14, 2022 shows a large amount of weapons and ammunition seized near Coutts during a crackdown near the Canadian-US border.
A photo provided by the RCMP on Monday, February 14, 2022 shows a large amount of weapons and ammunition seized near Coutts during a crackdown near the Canadian-US border. Provided by RCMP

Willett was strongly opposed to the blockade throughout, but admitted that a “majority” of residents was likely in favor of the protests. He concluded his remarks in Ottawa by saying he never opposed protests as long as they were peaceful and lawful.

“You have that freedom, the right to protest at any time, as long as you don’t break the law or interfere with my right to travel,” he said. “The biggest problem I had, and still has, is understanding that you’re blocking that highway, but who did you think you were harming? You are doing a disservice to your neighbors.…They, yes, they didn’t take into account the fact that they made a big splash, but they said they could help by lifting the mandate. I was hurting people I thought I was.”

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Border closure organizers speak out

Fort McLeod Coun before Willett stood up. He said he believed the RCMP’s discovery of the weapons had undermined an initially peaceful attempt to communicate with the state.

“For me it became very clear that all the goals we were trying to achieve were no longer possible and that our message was lost.” , it was individuals who were among us who had different opinions from us.As I said, this has not been proven yet and I can’t talk about it, but we and are alleged to have a different view.”

The focus of the inquiry will return to the East on Tuesday afternoon, with Ontario Deputy Attorney General Mario Di Tomaso expected to run for office.

mrodriguez@postmedia.com

twitter: @michaelrdrguez

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Alberta border village under siege by ‘domestic terrorists’, investigation conducted

Source link Alberta border village under siege by ‘domestic terrorists’, investigation conducted

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